Story as told by Charley Huggins
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Charley’s audio is transcribed below:
This is Charlie Huggins. I graduated from Midland High School in 1964. I started first grade for one semester in a community in east Midland called Greenwood. We moved to town and I started second semester of the first grade at South Elementary in Midland. I stayed there until the fifth grade. I then moved to West Elementary for one year (6th grade). I went to Cowden Junior High 7th-9th grades and Midland High School 10th-12th grades. I met a lot of friends there. Some of them I still keep up with, and unfortunately, some of them have already passed away. Probably my best friend was Eddie Klatt. He also graduated Midland High School in 1964, and he just passed away June 2020. I was also friends with John Barker. He passed away in the fall of 2019. I was also good friends with Roy Vaughan. He graduated in 1963. He still lives in Midland in a retirement home. He moved back a couple of years ago, and I still keep up with him.
We moved from Greenwood to Midland because my dad got a job in town. Up until that time he was a sharecropper. He was a cotton farmer for J.C. Brooks in the Greenwood community. When he got a new job in town, we moved to 1311 South Camp Street in Midland. We lived there through my fifth grade year. We then moved over to 903 West Washington. We stayed there a year and then we moved to Main Street in Midland. I made a lot of friends at West Elementary. I remember Bill Wood. He also graduated from Midland in 1964, too. He and I became really good friends. In 2008, Laura Welch Bush, who went to Lee High School (1964) and President George W. Bush hosted a reunion at the White House. We all went there for a reunion for Midland High School, Lee High School and Carver High School. We had a really nice time in Washington, D.C., and I saw a lot of my old classmates that I had not seen in a long time.
In high school, I played football up until my senior year. I did not play my senior year. However, I remember one of my favorite coaches I ever had was Jay Spears. He was my JV football coach and he became the high school varsity basketball coach. He was a very stern man. I had him for US History, too. He was tough on me and was a disciplinarian. You either did it his way or it was gonna be the highway! I decided I was going to do it his way, and I really grew to respect him a lot. I also coached for 31 years. I patterned my coaching style after Coach Spears because I thought it worked well. Coach Spears was a really great guy that cared about the kids. He worked hard and he expected you to work hard, too. If you didn’t work hard, he would get onto you. Of course, I think now sometimes kids are not the same as we were back then. Back then, you did it because you were afraid to NOT do it. If you got in trouble at school, you were going to get in trouble at home. It’s not quite that way anymore.
I had another coach named Glen Hixson. He was really a good coach and a good influence. The Midland tennis coach was David Kent. He also taught Government. I had him as a teacher and he was an excellent Government teacher. He went on to be the teacher and tennis coach at Texas A&M University for many years. It was funny, one summer we were on the way to Colorado, and we stopped in Amarillo for the night. The next morning, I went down to the lobby for breakfast. I saw this guy and I thought that sounds like Coach Kent. Low and behold, I asked him. He said “Charlie Huggins, I remember you.” I told him he was an awesome Government teacher. Coach Kent remained the coach of Texas A&M for many years and was very active in the Republican Party. He was just a good, good person. We were lucky to have some really good teachers at Midland High School. I really enjoyed my time there. I am glad I grew up in Midland.
I remember when we would go back home to visit my family. I have a daughter and a son. We lived in Denton and when we would go back to visit family in Midland. My kids would always aske me, “Dad, how did you ever live in Midland? There isn’t anything to do there!” I would tell them, “You know what? I didn’t know any better. I thought it was the best place in the world.”
We had a minor league baseball team named the Midland Braves. My older brothers, Bobby and Bocky, were the home Bat Boys, and I would be the visiting Bat Boy. We would go to every game in the summer. Usually, I would play a little league game during the day, and then we would go to the minor league game at night. I remember I used to polish the baseball player’s shoes and I got a quarter a piece. I thought that was really cool. I learned a lot of words from the baseball players that I probably shouldn’t have. They were quite personable and had a good time and enjoyed playing baseball.
I remember my parents and my brothers and I would go to Roswell, New Mexico in the summer and watch a four-game series. They would play Friday night, Saturday would be a double header, and a game on Sunday afternoon. Then we would come home. That was considered our family vacation. We had a great time and enjoyed watching baseball. I still love baseball. I played baseball until I was 14 years old and then I started playing football. My whole family enjoyed baseball and my mom would really get into it. She acted totally different at a baseball game. Ordinarily, she was really quiet, but at a baseball game she was really loud and would holler at the other team. Some of the visiting players would comment to me, “Man, that lady up there on the first base line is really crazy…hollering and screaming.” I would tell them, “Hey, that’s my mama.” They would always say, “oh I’m sorry.” In those days the wealthy people had box seats down on the field level. Midland was a big oil town. They had more money than just us average people. Whenever a Midland Brave would hit a homerun, they would put five or ten dollars in the screen for the player that hit the run. There was one player from the opposing team that they did it for, too. His name was Joe Bowman. He played for Roswell. One summer he hit 72 homeruns. He was about 6’5” and weighed about 250 pounds. When he got ahold of it, that ball was gone!! He hit rockets. The people got so that they would even give him money. He really liked coming to Midland to play because he knew he was going to get some money.
I really enjoyed living in Midland and I am glad that I grew up there. I learned some real values there. I learned about hard work and that you get ahead by doing things the right way. Sometimes things don’t always turn out the way that you want them to, but you just keep on plugging along and don’t give up.
I ended up coaching and teaching for 31 years in public school and one year in private school. I then was a substitute teacher for a total of 47 years in education. I really enjoyed coaching and teaching because you can really have an influence on children. I still hear from them and keep up with many former students on Facebook. Many of them have turned out well. There are some that have not. However, there are more than not that have turned out to be successful.